Biologist Salary and Benefits

According to the U.S. Government Bureau of Labor Statistics or BLS, biologists earn about $57,000 annually. This number is not exact however because the BLS groups together several specialties within the spectrum of biology. The salary range spreads from about $38,000 to $93,200, depending on the area of biology one specializes in. With so many different fields of research in Biology, actual salaries can vary widely. Academic biologists for example typically earn less than molecular biologists which work on developing new medicines. Biologist salaries are generally above the “average” income in the United States.

biologist salary

Salary Based on Location

As with any career, a biologist’s salary will vary depending upon where he/she works. The state with the highest pay for biologists is Maryland with the average salary paying just over $91,000 per year, according to the BLS. Biologists working in California are paid an average of just over $73,000 but that state has more job opportunities in the field with more than 2,000 positions available compared to Maryland’s 230.


Besides the nice salaries biologists are paid, there are some other benefits associated with this career choice. Many biologists are hired on a per-project basis. A biologist can be asked to join an expedition for example wherein he/she is able to travel great distances in order to conduct their work. Other advantages to being a biologist may include having access to restricted laboratories and institutions around the world and having the opportunity to meet people who may offer grants and other types of support. Biologists can also take part in various seminars that only selected individuals are able to attend.

Where Biologists Work

In most circumstances, a biologist is recognized according to the type of organism he/she studies. For instance, a biologist who studies animals is called a zoologist. A biologist who studies plant life is a botanist and a biologist who studies marine life is a marine biologist. This means that a biologist can work in many places including a lab, a research ship, or in a very controlled environment that grows and studies different types of organisms or plants.

A biologist typically works 40 hours per week. He/she may spend time in the field with odd hours and in rough conditions. Biologists are also called biological scientists or life scientists.

Biologist Job Description

By definition, a biologist is a scientist who studies organisms and their relationship to their environment. A biologist attempts to find discover underlying mechanisms that govern how organisms function. As mentioned above, a biologist typically specializes in one area such as marine life, botany, physiology, microbiology, zoology, ecology or biochemistry.